Even though most marketers are focusing most of their attention right now on the end-of-the-year holiday shopping season, many can’t help wondering what next year will bring. Experts are forecasting a post-pandemic economic downturn in 2023 which may mean advertising budgets will be reduced.
This probably means marketers will have to figure out how to do more with less.
Recent history—such as the 2007 downturn and the turbulent 2020 year of COVID—provides insight into how marketers will likely adapt to next year’s economic climate. One fundamental expected strategic change is to move the budget down the funnel, spending more on performance marketing and less on top-funnel branding.
The interesting thing to note about the 2007 and 2020 periods is that once the economy rebounded, performance marketing remained a more significant part of the media plan than before. It seems that once marketing organizations embrace accountable media, it’s hard not to want more of it.
Today, as media publishers prepare for next year, many are attempting to pivot and rebrand themselves as performance channels to secure ad dollars and survive. Historically branding channels such as television commercials and out-of-home ads are trying to appeal to performance-minded marketers.
By all accounts, 2023 will bring a renewed prioritization of performance marketing. Thus, it makes sense to revisit and rethink what performance marketing means these days and how marketers should approach it next year.
To explore these issues, eMarketer recently hosted Skai for a webinar entitled, The pursuit of marketing performance: Four new imperatives for success. In this online event, marketing experts share their insights about performance marketing with a modern twist to take advantage of the latest tactics and thinking.
Skai speakers included CMO Margo Kahnrose and directors Kelly Fogt and Melissa Barringer.
Performance marketing imperative #1 – reassess media channels
The webinar speakers urged marketers to begin by rethinking their media channels. Specifically, how to flip performance marketing to not mean how it performs for marketers but rather how it performs for consumers. The main point here is that modern performance advertising needs to be helpful and valuable rather than just loud and disruptive.
“It’s our job as marketers to empower consumers to make every single touchpoint useful to them,” explains Kahnrose. “To do this, we need to stop thinking about performance marketing as tactics and channels to squeeze the most out of consumers, but rather marketing that performs for the consumer. Advertising needs to help them discover, research, and meet their goals. It should be well-matched to their interests and intentions.”
Under this lens of helpful ads, not disruptive ones, the presentation turned to the subject of walled garden media. Of course, open web companies often claim that a disproportionate amount of budget goes to walled gardens. But, when you consider that walled gardens offer ads that help consumers the most, it becomes apparent how important these publishers are to modern performance marketing.
Consumers in these walled garden ecosystems are also in a more receptive frame of mind to engage with brands than in other areas of the web. They don’t mind being exposed to a new product while on social media, they actively research purchases in online stores, and click ads on search engines when looking for information.
And these walled garden publishers are growing beyond the single channels they have been known for and into full-funnel performance partners. Google offers more than search, including display, video, and app install ads. Amazon Ads has DSP and CTV ads. And you can send Facebook or Instagram users to online retailers directly from social ads.
Walled gardens also benefit from being more future-proofed because they rely less on cookies and offer potent first-party audience targeting.
Performance marketing imperative #2 – restructure your silos
The inherent problem with siloing marketing channels is that your internal channel teams compete for budgets. However, to succeed, they need to work harmoniously towards a common goal in favor of a more omnichannel organizational approach.
But “omnichannel” is hard. It’s easier just to let different teams run different channels.
The first step is to have a unified system of record, so all teams get insight into performance in every other channel. This requires a technology platform that is holistic and facilitates omnichannel workflows.
Ironically, there isn’t profound empirical evidence that a more holistic, consumer-centric approach performs much better than a siloed channel approach. However, most marketers agree that there’s enough potential value here to explore an omnichannel performance marketing plan as a way to drive true business growth.
Performance marketing imperative #3 – redefine your KPIs
In an omnichannel approach to performance marketing, one of the most significant areas that needs to change is measurement. As a whole, the marketing industry still prioritizes vanity metrics like CTRs and Impressions. While they are indeed the easiest to collect and gather, the problem is that, in the long run, they force us to keep our marketing efforts siloed.
But now that digital is a primary touchpoint, performance media can and should be held accountable to more meaningful metrics that other business units are expected to impact.
“Marketers need to evolve to a new measurement paradigm,” urges Kahnrose. “Mainly, legacy metrics treat all conversions as ad-driven but ignore other factors like brand equity, loyalty, word of mouth, etc. We need measurement to be more holistic.LTV, New to brand, growth, margin contribution, share-of-voice, profitability, subscription rates, etc.”
Performance marketing imperative #4 – rethink your inputs
As a whole, marketers seem to explore more holistic marketing approaches. But to get there, the industry must rethink the data inputs needed to drive success. The most basic requirement we have is clicks, conversions, and ROAS. While these metrics are still needed for a foundational view for channel-level optimization, we must add other things like review & rating data, content analytics, consumer insights, etc.
And these insights must be connected across datasets, channels, and teams for them to be most helpful.
Skai is a foundational omnichannel platform for performance marketing
Skai empowers the world’s leading brands and agencies across industries to manage omnichannel digital marketing campaigns. Our omnichannel marketing platform includes solutions for retail media, paid search, paid social, and app marketing. We’ll keep you at the forefront of the digital evolution with data and insights, marketing execution, and measurement tools that work together to drive powerful brand growth.
Client results include:
- 461% increase in Amazon Ads ROAS and 57% increase in page traffic for Bondi Sands
- 280% increase in installs for DraftKings
- 10% increase in new account openings for Royal Bank of Canada
- 756% increase in conversions for New York Magazine
- 600% increase in Facebook leads for Inova
For more information, please schedule a brief demo to see our cutting-edge innovation firsthand!